UN Secretary-General Announces New Leadership for Sustainable Energy for All initiative


Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All named; World Bank President to Co-chair Advisory Board

UN Headquarters, New York (September 24, 2012) –UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strengthened his commitment to achieving sustainable energy for all by announcing new leadership arrangements for his Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

In an address today to UN Member States and other stakeholders at a High-level Event on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, the Secretary-General confirmed that he had asked Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, currently the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization and Chair of UN-Energy, to serve as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and chief executive of the initiative. The Secretary-General also announced that he had invited the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, to serve with him as co-chair of the initiative’s newly formed Advisory Board.

“Providing sustainable energy for all could be the biggest opportunity of the 21st century,” said the Secretary-General. “Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and a climate and environment that enables the world to thrive. This initiative is bringing together governments, the private sector, and civil society in a partnership that’s delivering real results.”

The initiative has three objectives: to provide universal energy access; to double the rate of global energy efficiency improvement; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The new arrangements announced by the Secretary-General for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative include:

  • Creation of an Advisory Board, to be appointed by the Secretary-General and co-chaired by the Secretary-General and World Bank President.  The Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance to the work of the initiative. Its members, which will be announced soon, will be drawn from the private sector, civil society and governments that have shown exceptional leadership;
  • Creation of an Executive Committee, to be chaired by Chad Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America. The Executive Committee will provide operational oversight for the work of the chief executive as he carries out the functions of Sustainable Energy for All;
  • Designation of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and chief executive of the effort.  The chief executive will be fully responsible for planning and implementation of the initiative to achieve its ambitious objectives.

The Secretary-General added, “I am very pleased that Dr. Yumkella and President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank have agreed to serve in leadership positions for this important initiative. Sustainable development is a top priority for both the United Nations and the World Bank, and I welcome our close collaboration.  Successful multi-stakeholder partnerships like these are the way of the future in meeting our global challenges.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim noted, “I eagerly accepted the Secretary-General’s invitation to co-Chair Sustainable Energy for All’s new Advisory Board and congratulate him on establishing this initiative. The World Bank Group will step up its actions in partnership with governments, the private sector and civil society, mobilizing its financing, policy expertise and convening power to achieve these goals."

The Secretary-General’s new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and chief executive, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, said, “I am honored to serve the Secretary-General and am ready to take this path-breaking initiative to the next level.”  He added, “We will continue to work with all key stakeholders to achieve sustainable energy for all and drive real action on the ground -- action that transforms lives, communities, economies and the environment.”

Chad Holliday, the new chair of the Executive Committee of Sustainable Energy for All, said, “The private sector is a crucial partner in this initiative and is fully ready to participate in this new platform and build on the tremendous results achieved to date.”

 The initiative has generated significant momentum since its launch one year ago:

  • Support for the initiative has come from every part of the world – from the European Commission and the Clean Energy Ministerial to the African energy ministers and the Small Island Developing States -- and attracted the voluntary participation of some 60 developing countries;
  • More than US $50 billion has been mobilized from the private sector and investors;
  • Tens of billions of dollars have been committed by multi-lateral development banks in Asia, Europe and Latin America;
  • Hundreds of actions have been catalyzed and commitments have been made in support of the three core objectives;
  • Commitments to support energy access will provide more than one billion people with access to modern energy during the lifespan of the initiative; and
  • New public-private partnerships are forming on transport, energy efficiency, solar cooking, finance and energy access for the poor.

At today’s event, significant new commitments to action in support of achieving Sustainable Energy for All were also announced.  These include:

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): The IDB's commitment of $5 Billion in 5 years to SEforALL related work in the Latin American and Caribbean region reflects IDB's leading role in the region's energy sector and its interest in pursuing innovative new projects in the future.

Philips - Lighting Centers Africa:  Philips has announced it will install 100 "light centres" across rural Africa. These centres, which are the size of a small soccer field and lit using a new generation of highly efficient solar powered LED lighting, will ‘extend the day’ in areas previously without electricity, thereby providing new opportunities for African communities.

World Economic Forum Green Growth Action Alliance - Creation of Large End User Renewables Purchasing Group:  The Green Growth Action Alliance, in close coordination with Sustainable Energy for All, will help secure financing by facilitating the pooling of funds or renewable energy purchases. This will provide confidence to lenders and enable long-term power purchase contracts with developers.

Sustainable Endowments Institute Billion Dollar Green Challenge: The Billion Dollar Green Challenge encourages universities and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of $1 billion in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will reduce operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world's largest producer of solar panels, will donate up to 300 kilowatts of solar panels to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, to help the hospital reduce its dependence on expensive diesel generators and improve access to electricity.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in September 2011 to mobilize action from all sectors of society to achieve sustainable energy for all.